The Descent into Hell (Anastasis or ‘Voskresenie Christovo’) surrounded by 12 Festival Scenes
- The Descent into Hell (Anastasis or ‘Voskresenie Christovo’) surrounded by 12 Festival Scenes
Icon; painted; in the centre, within a mandorla, is Christ standing on the doors of hell, and holding a cross with a pennant in his left hand; with his right hand he takes the hand of Adam who kneels before him; to his right is the kneeling and praying figure of the Virgin. Around are 12 festival scenes, clockwise from top left:
1. The Birth of the Virgin.
2. The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple.
3. The Annunciation to the Virgin.
4. The Nativity of Christ.
5. The Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
6. The Baptism of Christ.
7. The Entry into Jerusalem.
8. The Transfiguration of Christ.
9. The Holy Women at the Tomb.
10. The Ascension of Christ.
11. The Old Testament Trinity (the angels at Mamre).
12. The Dormition of the Virgin (Koimesis).
Inscriptions: in Church Slavonic along the top: РОЖДЕСТВО ПР(ЕСВЯТОЙ) БОГОРОДИЦЫ BВЕДЕНИЕ ПР(ЕСВЯТОЙ) БОГОРОДИЦЫ БЛАГОВЕШЕНИЕ РОЖДЕСТВО ХРИCТОВО (Birth of the Virgin Mary, Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, Annunciation, Nativity of Christ). On the left side: СРЕТЕНИЕ ГОСПОДНЕ (Meeting at the Temple) , ВХОДЪ ВЪ ИЕРУСАЛИМ (Entry into Jerusalem), ЖЕНЫ МИРОНОСИЦЫ (Myrrh-carriers at the sepulchre). On the right side: БОГОЯВЛЕНИЕ ГОСПОДНЕ (Baptism of Christ), ПРЕОБРАЖЕНИЕ ГОСПОДНЕ (Transfiguration of Christ), УСПЕНИЕ ПРЕСВЯТЫЯ БОГОРОДИЦЫ (Dormition of the Virgin). On the central scene above Christ: ВОСКРЕСЕНИЕ ХРИСТОВО (Resurrection of Christ); along the bottom above scenes 8 and 9: С (ВЯ)ТАЯ ТРОИЦА (Holy Trinity), ВОЗНЕСЕНИЕ ГОСПОДНЕ (Ascension of Christ). In Greek by the Virgin's head in scenes 1-3, 9,10 and 12: MP OY (Mother of God); above Christ's head in scene 12: IC XC (Jesus Christ). On the reverse an illegible Russian inscription.
Egg tempera and gold, gesso on wood.
- Made in: Russia
- Height: 32 centimetres
- Width: 27.4 centimetres
- Thickness: 3 centimetres
Inscription Positionalongside images
Inscription LanguageChurch Slavonic
Inscription Commentidentifying events and figures in images
Inscription Positionby head of Mary
Inscription Commentidentifying figure
Inscription Positionabove Christ's head
Inscription Commentidentifying figure
The icon represents the typical Orthodox Easter composition with Christ’s descent into hell (Anastasis) surrounded by 12 festival scenes. The iconography derives from apocryphal texts such as the Gospel of Nicodemus and the writings of Epiphanios of Cyprus, Eusephios of Alexandria, as well as Psalms. Known as early as the 8th century in Byzantine art, the Anastasis achieved its developed form by the 11th century. In early representations Christ is depicted as a triumphator in a blue mandorla, holding a cross and lifting Adam with his right hand. Additional figures include the prophets David and Solomon, John the Baptist and the patriarch James. The Museum’s icon shows Christ with a cross in the form of long staff with a red banner, a type belonging to a Western iconographic tradition.
For other icons with the Anastasis, see cat. nos 9, 30, 46 and 67.
Cormack 2007, 114, no. 5
2015 Icons loan PROMISED
The panel has been damaged by woodworm; the green colour on the frame is over-painting.
29 August 1989
X-ray to reveal detail and restoration
Examination in 2003: Stretchers project at the sides due to warping of the panel. Old woodworm damage. Small areas of loss at bottom of panel.
X-radiographed on Kodak Industrex MX film at 60kv 3mA at 1 and 1 1/2 minutes also on Industrex 620paper at 50kv 3mA for 20 seconds; revealing damage and detail.
- Associated Event: Old Testament Trinity
Given in memory of Mr L.A. Angus-Butterworths' father who acquired it in Russia in 1913.
Prehistory and Europe
- IC 5 (Icon Collection number)
Icon painted in egg tempera on wood prepared with linen and gesso. Subject: the Anastasis in the centre, surrounded by 12 festival scenes: Birth of the Virgin, Presentation of Virgin, Annunciation, Nativity, Presentation in the Temple, Baptism of Christ, Entry into Jerusalem, Transfiguration, Women at the tomb, Ascension, Trinity of Old Testament, Koimesis. Inscriptions fill the frame and are found in some of the scenes.Of particular iconographic interest are the representations of the Annunciation, where Mary is shown gesturing to a book on a desk in front of her, and the Nativity, where Mary is depicted sitting rather than reclining.
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Object reference number: MCB4520
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